Rajasthan launches fortified foods to tackle malnutritionFebruary 3rd, 2012 - 11:29 pm ICT by IANS
Jaipur, Feb 3 (IANS) With an estimated 40 percent of children under three years in Rajasthan suffering from chronic malnutrition, the state government, in partnership with GAIN - the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and other partners Friday launched projects aimed at increasing the nutritional value of a range of foods - from infant foods to vitamin and mineral-rich wheat flour, to iodized salt.
Nutrients added, such as iron, folic acid, vitamin A and iodine, are important for all age and population groups and more so for children below 24 months of age, and helps reduce mental and physical setbacks that could haunt them for the rest of their lives.
According to officials, GAIN, in partnership with various state government departments and IHMR - Institute of Health Management Research, has developed a comprehensive project for improving the nutritional quality of the commonly consumed food products such as wheat flour, milk, oil and lentils through fortification, which would be available through open market channels. It would reach vulnerable populations through the Public Distribution System (PDS), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the Mid-Day-Meal (MDM) programmes.
In addition, officials said, GAIN is supporting the setting up of 7 mini-industrial plants managed by Women Self-help Groups to produce fortified food for the ICDS in partnership with Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Rajasthan and UN World Food Programme. This project empowers marginalized women to become entrepreneurs to produce high quality, fortified blended food for pregnant and lactating mothers and children aged 6-36 months to complement breastfeeding and other best practices in infant feeding.
“An estimated 40 percent of children under three years in Rajasthan suffer from chronic malnutrition as a result of insufficient food and essential micronutrients in their diets” said Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN, who was present at the launch ceremony.
“The efforts we are initiating today will contribute to curbing high infant malnutrition rates and to break the vicious intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.”
GAIN has supported Indian efforts to address malnutrition since 2006.
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Tags: chronic malnutrition, comprehensive project, development government, global alliance for improved nutrition, government of rajasthan, health management research, industrial plants, institute of health, insufficient food, marc van, marginalized women, market channels, micronutrients, nutritional quality, population groups, public distribution system, self help groups, state government departments, vulnerable populations, wheat flour